3 Easy Steps to Make Back to School a Success

Imagine a school year where the family enjoys homework time, mornings are a little less hectic and kids find ways to keep themselves busy – in a good way! Whether your kids are starting preschool or entering middle school, these steps will lead you to success.

What is the key to this success? Kid-Led, Family Approved Goals.

According to research from the Harvard Initiative for Learning & Teaching, goal setting can improve learning and motivation among kids of all ages. The effect of goal setting depends on the kids’ investment or commitment which is why kid-led, family approved goals are key.

Step 1: Decide on a Goal Approach

Guided Goals

Looking to leave the house on time? Looking for a way to improve homework time? You can guide your kids into setting goals that help the family. Start by asking why being on time or doing homework is important. Let your kids figure out what their goal is and resist the temptation of telling them what their goal should be.

Open-Ended Inquiry

Goals can be created without an objective in mind. Kids can really set their own path and it provides you an opportunity to learn more about what matters in the eyes of your kids. Age appropriate questions are critical.


For ages 3-4: What do you want to learn about? Tell me about your friends.

For ages 4-8: What are looking forward to at school? Tell me what you want to learn more about?

For ages 9+: What subjects are you most excited about? Tell me about your favorite activities.

Step 2: SET your goal using Start, Explore and Test! 

SET Model w Words

Start: Ask questions! You can also say “tell me more…” to dig deeper into any answer.

Explore: Together, explore the wide variety of goals that are possible and let it be kid-led!  Some ideas won’t be feasible but let creativity shine in this step.

Test: Decide on your kid-led, family approved goal and test if it works! Sometimes goals need tinkering if they are not specific, meaningful or challenging. Kid-led should help with the meaningful and challenging part.

Step 3: Turn kid-led, family approved goals into DIY projects!

Get Artsy & Creative!

Arts and Crafts BTS

Transform goals into collages, vision boards or journals. Try this hopes and dreams journal where kids can document what they are excited about and what they want to learn. Have kids create a backpack tag that reminds them of what they want to achieve this year.

Test Your Goals as a Back-to-School Experiment 


Take a lesson from the scientific method to test out goals! The purpose/question and the research has already happened in the SET process. Have your kids write out their hypothesis “If I do xyz, then xyz will occur.” Them, they can experiment with the way they are trying to reach their goal and see what’s working and what’s not working.

Helping kids set goals will provide them with valuable lessons while helping the family have a successful back to school experience. We hope that you’ll share your kid-led, family approved goals! 

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One Reply to “3 Easy Steps to Make Back to School a Success”

  1. Hi, Bree —

    I really enjoyed this post; goal setting is such an important part of child development, as is persistence, which I’ve personally observed KiwiBoxes as encouraging. (My granddaughter is the four year old with the lemon-aid Kiwi Box featured in this morning’s Instagram Post by donab)

    Any chance of a guest post exchange? I’d love to have a blog post from you on my website, and would be happy to write one in exchange. Let me know. Marlene

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